Matty Askin is set to head to Belgium in a bid to get himself firmly back in the cruiserweight mix.
Blackpool’s former British champion has two fights pencilled in for the early part of 2019 as he looks to rebound from losing his title when he came out on the wrong end of a scrappy contest with Lawrence Okolie at Wembley Stadium in September.
An initial warm-up fight is to be confirmed for March with the 30-year-old then close to a deal to take on Joel Tambwe Djeko in Brussels in May for the International Boxing Organisation’s Continental title.
Askin admits that had tempting offers not been on the table then hanging up the gloves would have been a real option.
“I’m looking forward to having another big year,” said the Jennings Gym-trained fighter, 23-4-1 as a professional.
“I want to stay as busy as possible and I’ve already got a couple of fights lined up.
“I’m fighting in May in Brussels, that’s pretty much a done deal and I’d like to get a warm-up fight in before it to shake a bit of rust off.
“Hopefully I can go from there. Two big wins would open up some options for me.
“The fight in May could be an eliminator for the IBO world title as well so I could be looking at fighting for a world title sooner rather than later.
“If I’d had to come back and fight a four or six-rounder I would have called it a day.
“But I’ve got two potentially big fights lined up now and it gives me a focus and a purpose now to carry on.”
Djeko and Askin have a mutual opponent in Welshman Craig Kennedy.
While Djeko lost a close split decision in Cardiff back in May 2016, Askin ended Kennedy’s unbeaten record with a sixth round knockout 12 months later.
His trip to Belgium will see the Fylde coast fighter go up against a home favourite but that isn’t something that phases him.
“If you go through my record it’s very rare that I’ve boxed anywhere near Blackpool,” Askin said.
“I’ve been to Poland and fought the guy that went on to win the WBO world title in Krzysztof Glowacki.
“A fight’s a fight at the end of the day.
“He can do as he pleases and the crowd can do what they want.
“But it’s me and him in that ring and if he comes to have a fight then we know there’s only one outcome.”